December 27th, 2009

fraggle rock!

Caving In

So, back in the first week of October, we celebrated the holiday of Succos (Sukkot).  There was a time that Succos was my favorite Jewish holiday of all - but I admit 2006, 2007, 2008 and now 2009 have brought us some pretty rotten luck during the holiday, so my love for it has... waned slightly.  This year, of course, I spent all of Succos in the hospital (arriving home on Shemini Atzeres).  Worse, while I was already in the hospital, Seth was admitted for a severe back injury.  Frankly, I was shocked that he even got the Succah built - and I assume it was lovely, though I never got to eat in it. 

Since then, life has gotten hectic.  Seth went through several weeks of epidural steroid shots and has now started PT for his back.  I've been ill.  The kids have been ill.  Sam had a procedure under general anesthesia - the usual.  Life gets away from us sometimes and things slide as the to-do list gets longer and the days seem to get shorter.  So that succah - the succah I was shocked Seth managed to get up - well, it's still in our back yard.  I figure, in a pinch, it'll make a fine yurt to deliver this baby in if I never manage to find an obstetrician to care for me.  

But... I did tell Seth at some point that if it ever stops raining long enough for the bamboo mat we use for a roof on the succah to dry out, that we at LEAST needed to put that part away so it wouldn't get mildewy or moldy.  He agreed, but then it rained again.  And again.  And some more.  We never managed to get the mat put away.  

And then, 20 inches of snow fell out of the sky one day.

The upside is that we don't have to worry about putting the mat away - it caved in under the pressure.  Problem solved, and now all we have to do is get a new one for next year, but we have a whole year (almost) to worry about that!  In some ways, I feel like the family that never takes their Christmas lights down - it's a special sort of charm.  And hey, we weren't using the back yard anyway.
gerber daisy!

*Still* OB-less

 I had another practice tell me this week that they were declining to accept me as a patient.  Don't you love that kind of language?  I guess it makes them feel less... responsible in a way.  But I had some success on the OB front this week despite that.  I called the birth advisor at Shady Grove Hospital.  SG is not my preferred choice of hospitals, but I had much better reasons to avoid it with the triplets than I do now - their NICU wouldn't have kept the three babies together, they didn't have private rooms for post-partum care, and it was further away, so dealing with traffic to get to see my babies every day for a month wasn't appealing.  This time... well, they've redone their maternity suites and they are all now private rooms.  I am not anticipating a NICU stay, but if it came to that, I certainly don't have to worry about siblings being separated (this is ONE baby not three!!!).  I'm unlikely to need to be at the hospital daily for a month like I was with the triplets.  So it's a viable option, though scandalous to think that I wouldn't deliver at the hospital five minutes from my home and where my husband works every day!

But since my options are dwindling, and the next most viable option is to go to GW (FAR less convenient), I called the birth advisor at SG.  I explained the difficulty I was having in finding an obstetrician willing to take me on and though I wasn't looking for her to solve that problem, but just rather to acquaint me with SG's facility and what they have to offer, she jumped right in and said "we have to find you an obstetrician!  This is ridiculous!"  Ten minutes later, she had an appointment for me with a practice that many of my friends have recommended, but had previously hemmed and hawed about getting an initial OB appointment this late in my pregnancy.   I'll have that appointment on Tuesday.  If it doesn't go well, I'm seeing my perinatologist on Wednesday and I'll tell him my two options are to see him directly or to go to GW's practice, which I don't want to do and which would mean losing his care all together, since the GW practice is mixed with OBs and MFMs, so I wouldn't need a separate perinatology practice.

One way or another, this OB dilemma will be resolved next week.

Meanwhile, the perinatologist I saw on the 18th started me on an IV Steroid course.  The hope was that it would do a fair bit for the hyperemesis, and I haven't found that to be true - it helped a tiny bit, but nothing earth-shattering.  But it has helped other things.  My sciatic pain is mostly gone, with only occasional twinges.  The inflammation around my PICC site is faring much better.  My itchiness is gone.  The side effects suck (reflux, water retention, and now oral thrush!  Whee!), but the steroids still aren't without their benefits.   

The baby is growing perfectly - and appears to have all the necessary parts (brain, toes, heart...).  I'm having a full anatomy scan on Wednesday, so we'll get to see even more of that precious little baby.  I've been feeling fetal movement for a few weeks now - it's not nearly as prominent as when I had three poking at me, but it's definitely there, and I definitely have an active healthy baby.  So far, the baby is thriving, even if I'm not, which is the most important thing.  And fortunately, there's an end in sight for even the unpleasant parts - once I deliver this baby, most, if not all, of the torturous parts of all this should lift fairly quickly, if not immediately.  So long as it's not forever, I can handle it.

Evening out the Playing Field

We've joked (okay, we were never joking when we said it) that the triplets combined are still less work than J is. And really? It's been true. Part of that is the challenge of handling a child with ADHD, learning disabilities, and anxiety, and part of that is that the older a kid is, the more complex his needs. He's less content to sit and play with blocks all day than he was when he himself was 2. He's got school projects, therapy appointments, field trips, friends he wants to see... it just *is* more work to care appropriately for a six year old than for a two year old... even when the two year old comes in triplicate. But mostly, it's the ADHD et al.

Until now.

I think we're finally reaching a point where the triplets are higher maintenance than J. (Certainly, they are higher maintenance than he was when he was 2 - he never stopped moving long enough to get into anything, climb anything, empty anything out, or wreak havoc in general...)

The triplets, see, they are a team. And they're crafty - plus they teach their tricks to the others. Ellie's a master climber and although Sam couldn't get the hang of climbing for a long time, inspiration from his sister got him moving and climbing. Abby can throw a temper tantrum better than any two year old I know - and she's taught her tricks to the others along the way. Sam and Ellie got tired of being pushed, poked, pulled upon, and hit by their sister Abby - so now they gang up on her. Ellie and Abby mastered climbing in and out of cribs and Sam had to get in on the fun (though it took him almost a year longer to figure it out than it took the girls).

And now. Now the diapers. The girls have been little houdini-diaper-escapers for a long time. At least a year, I think. We've tried onesies. We've tried duct tape. We've tried backwards footie PJs. We've tried a onesie over a backwards footie PJ over a duct taped diaper. But they can get out of anything, especially Ellie. Not Sam. He was the good one. The one I said gets to go to college on account of his good behaviour (and his apparent lack of creativity necessitating more thorough eduction! JUST KIDDING). Until yesterday, that is.

Seth was working all day, so I had the four kids on a day when, you know, NOTHING is open so no activities to take them to. Seems like there's this universal affinity for celebrating Christmas. I don't begrudge it, but it sure would have been nice to get out of the house to a child-friendly activity. Who am I kidding, though? I probably wouldn't have gotten motivated enough to get out of the house anyway... it was a Friday, after all.

Anyway, yesterday I put the triplets down for a nap. And of course they have no cribs anymore, so naptime is always a crapshoot. If I'd been smart, I would have stayed in their room until they fell asleep, but I wanted to get some things done. So instead, I wasted even more time by going back to their room to put them back in their beds over and over and over. At some point, it was clear that they were having a ... little TOO much fun in there, so I went to assess the situation.

And I found three completely naked babies running around like maniacs. Yes, even Sam.

It seems that no one's going to college. ;)

It could have been a fluke, right? I mean, Sam's never done that before and it's been WEEKS since I've found the girls without diapers. This was just a one-time thing, right? RIGHT????

Nope. Fast-forward to bedtime tonight... three toddlers running around like maniacs. Naked. I re-dressed them, put them down, waited for them to calm down and get sleepy, and then left the room. I heard them up afterward, but they weren't too wild, and it was clear that they were winding down and getting tired.

Until I heard Sam screaming hysterically, so I dashed to the room as quickly as this pregnant body would allow only to find:

1 wide awake Abigail, fully clothed, and laying on her mattress sweetly,
1 frantic Samuel diaperless, PJ-less (though he still had his onesie on... and socks), soaking wet with pee,
1 sleepy Eliana, face-down on her bed, stark naked, with a moist, crumpled diaper next to her Teddy Bear.

I suspect we're in for a few weeks of hell until they get over this particular fascination of theirs. But it's fair to admit, at this point, that the triplets are starting to become just as high maintenance as J - in their own special ways. There's much more refereeing to be had with the triplets, much more negotiating, much more parental attention to ensure they're not hanging off the ceiling fans.

Why, J is looking downright low-maintenance right now. Provided he takes his medicine. At least, when all else fails, I can sit him down with a book, the computer, or a quick activity to get a break. And he's also becoming much more helpful in general - he loves to help sweep, setting the table is a special chore I "let" him help with, he wants to cook with me as often as possible, he even helps clean up the triplets' messes without (much) complaint. He can make his own bed (not perfect, but who cares about perfection?), he's good at cleaning up his room (most of the time), he has simple needs when it comes to food (one benefit of being the world's pickiest eater is that I don't have to struggle to give him new flavors - he won't eat them anyway... I"m kidding, of course, I do have him try new things often, but there's comfort in knowing he's got his old standby's to eat and won't get bored of them).

I wonder how I'll feel about the high vs. low maintenance aspect when I have a ten year old, three six year olds, and an almost four year old....